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Featured The problem with the statement "God is good."

Discussion in 'Theism' started by Hubert Farnsworth, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    If one states that "God is good," there are two possible meanings. Either 1) "good" is some quality outside of God, and thus, one is implying that a morality greater than God exists outside of God itself, or 2) "Good" is simply, by definition, part of God's nature, and thus, the statement is trivial. God is "good" is equivalent to stating "God is God." In other words, either God's goodness is defined by some standard of morality that is outside of God, or "goodness" itself is simply defined as being an attribute of God, that is, whatever God does is good. In this case, God is amoral, because by this definition, God can do whatever God wants, and no matter what it is, it is good, because whatever God does is good.

    Put another way, we can either decide that good and evil are outside of God and subject God to a standard of morality outside of himself, or we can define good as being part of God's nature and thus, in essence good = "whatever God does." In this case, as I said before God would be amoral, since "goodness" is simply derived from his actions, whatever they may be. I see this as a problem. If goodness is nothing more than an attribute of God, why should we consider God to be morally good if he never has the choice between good and evil, since whatever he does is good by default? And furthermore, if goodness is outside of God, then what's the point of appealing to God for moral standards?
     
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  2. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    What could be thought of the `goodness` going on the Carolinas right now ?
     
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  3. Earthling

    Earthling David Henson
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    IMO, terms like morality and good are subjective. So, would the countless people who were put to death by the great deluge likely be of the opinion that God is Good? And the countless millions of people who will perish when the next and final destruction of the world takes place - will they see God as Good? To the people who see that both of those destructive event were necessary to prevent even further destruction, God is definitely good.
     
  4. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    God is love. 1 John 4:8.
    “He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.”
    Does this mean there is a quality outside God?
    No. It simply means that God is the absolute source of love. In other words, God doesn't just have love, love is his essence, his nature, his very being.

    The same applies to "good". It is his essence - it is not separate from him.
    "God is holy", is another example. The scriptures say, "Holiness belongs to him". His nature is pure - clean (separated from any uncleanness) to the highest degree.

    These expressions do have a lot of meaning for God's people.
     
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  5. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    That's a great illustration about trying to apply words to divinity. To me at least it's like trying to tie a rope around the wind. Or maybe it's like the Blind Men and the Elephant metaphor. Any words we use are just at best a limited view of God but one that might be helpful to mentally consider.

    So I might say something like "God is good. God is bad. God is beyond good and bad. God is both good and bad at one and the same time. Good and bad is just an illusory dimension of existence. Good and bad are helpful signposts for us to use to orient our lives."
     
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  6. 'mud

    'mud ~~ Life is Stuff ~~
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    That's why I like to say:
    `God` is the Stuff of Life.
    `He` wait's there, till we die.
    From dust to dust, as said.
    And then beginning again.
     
  7. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Then the word has no meaning. If "holiness" is an attribute of God, then everything God does is holy because God does it. Thus, God is amoral because whatever he does is good by default.
     
  8. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Everything God does is good, because it is his nature, but is there anyone that God must answer to? Is there anyone else to set rules?
    No.God is complete. In other words, his nature is multifaceted. He is all powerful by nature, all wise, a God of justice, love, etc., and these qualities are perfectly balanced.

    So being complete, God is in the perfect position to determine that anything that goes against his nature is bad. He put those same qualifies within his intelligent creatures. He is the law giver.

    Being the creator - the one who gives life, he is concerned about right and wrong. He knows that to go against his nature would be detrimental to his creatures.

    For example, let me use a silly illustration.
    Let's say you are a pure water source, and you send out your waters to nourish ever living thing - trees, plants, fish, and other life forms.
    Would you not care if you know that there are threats that can contaminate those waters, and poison the life forms, and would you not want to protect them?
    Surely you would. You have a sense of right and wrong, and are concerned about it.

    This is how God is. His completeness moves him to make everything complete if that make sense.
    As the only true God, he is law. Take him away, what do we have?
     
  9. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Good then is the essence of god. Whatever god does is good. If so, I assume if we do what he does/has done would also be good. If not, why not?

    .
     
  10. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    So you admit God is amoral. If God does something, it is good by default, because God did it. Therefore, God never has the choice between good and evil, because whatever he ends up doing, it is "good", because he did it. But how can we even call an action "good" if there is no alternative option? Since you're saying God's actions are always good because they are God's actions, you might as well just say that God's actions are God's actions. "Good" loses its meaning here. It becomes trivial.
     
  11. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    No.
    We are not in a position to do what he does.
    :wsbutton:We are limited in power.
    :wsbutton:We are limited in our ability to judge - we are not capable of Knowing all the facts.

    There probably are a few more, that haven't come to mind.
     
  12. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say God is amoral.
    Do I have the right understanding of the word?
    amoral - lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something.

    I don't see God as lacking a moral sense.
    That's why I specifically mentioned his completeness.

    Let us suppose that God were all powerful alone, then he would only use that power - either destructively, or productively, but it would not be purpose driven.
    Now add his other qualifies - wisdom, justice, love. Now, his power is balanced with his other attributes, and there is purpose. He uses his power wisely, for justice, and motivated by love.

    So this completeness allows God to have a knowledge of what good does as opposed to what the results would be, if good were removed.
    His primary quality - love, is the driving force behind all he does, so he is not acting automatically, as a robot does, that is programed.
    Because of God's wisdom though, he knows what evil would accomplish.

    I guess perhaps what you are saying is that if God is essentially good then that would mean that automatically he can't do evil, and I think that is a nice thought.
    It makes him all the more worthy of our love and worship. ;)

    So again, yes - everything God does is always good.:thumbsup:
    I don't see how it's amoral though. Perhaps you can elaborate, a bit on that.
     
  13. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    You have the same problem when you say God is "loving" "wise" and "just" if you assume that these qualities originate from God and not some outside source. The concepts of "goodness," "wiseness," and "justice" lose all meaning if they are defined by whatever God does. Their definitions become trivial. God never has the choice between making "good" and "non-good" actions or "wise" and "unwise" actions, because as I said before, by your definition, these qualities are simply defined by whatever God does. So, based upon what you are saying, of course God is amoral. How can he be concerned with morality if any action that he performs is "good" by default, because it was performed by him? He can't. The only way that God could be concerned with morality or make a choice to be good would be if morality came from outside of him.
     
  14. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Why would someone of a holy nature, choose something contrary to that nature?
    Why would innocence choose guilt?

    Since God had no beginning and has no end God must have always had the attributes God has.

    True goodness is to love life, and that which gives and makes life happen. To be truly good is to be charitable towards all. But the evil motive is to destroy good, and steal all good has. So evil makes itself the forever enemy of good, and thus God. Nobody that is good is dumb enough ever to choose that which is against their very being.

    The biggest problem life has is evil. God is not insane so God punishes evil as it deserves. God isnt going to befriend a murderer. God loves life, and eternal life is about giving everyone as they deserve.

    You cant love good and not hate evil. God knows God's own self. God knows the fruits of being evil, and that those fruits are its demise.

    If God, then God is perfect.

    Evil is dependent on Good. Good is never dependent upon evil. Evil is totally useless, and harmful to life and its goodness. Evil stops at nothing to destroy innocence and take all from it.

    The definition of evil is insanity. Evil relishes and loves the demise of the innocent. Innocence only loves innocence because innocence freely gives life to the innocent. Evil only takes, steals, and destroys goodness.

    Its the simplest, most obvious thing to know of, good and evil.

    God is good if only God is truly God. Otherwise you are talking about something or someone else.

    All beings have attributes. There is only good and evil to choose from. You love the one and hate the other depending on who you are. Everyone makes their choice. Its impossible to be both good and evil. Good and evil , that is always going to be war. The goal of good is to end evil forever. The goal of evil is to end goodness, and have itself the master and ruler of all things, and become omnipotent and invincible cruelty, that serves the self only.

    Trust vs. No trust
    Love vs no love
    Charity vs cruelty
    Care vs hatred
     
    #14 osgart, Sep 15, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
  15. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    I think we can get so caught up in philosophies, logic and trying to express intelligence that we don't see the simple statement by Jesus:

    Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
     
  16. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    Great!
    So God always acts with love, justice, and wisdom.
    These definitions become trivial to whom - God or man?
    They are not trivial to man. That's not what you are saying, are you?
    Having a sense of right and wrong, or being concerned with right and wrong has to do with its application to man, not God.
    That's why I used the illustration of the pure water.

    This would help explain why God allows Satan to prove his challenge against God's rightness as sovereign. That would add much meaning to the situation that started in the garden.
     
  17. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    That's a good point.
    Good and evil are opposites.
    Which proves that evil is what ever goes against God's goodness. So it did not originate with God, but originated with someone who went against, or opposed God.
     
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  18. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    I'm not trying to "express intelligence." In fact, this is a very simple concept. There are problems and paradoxes that arise when defining your conception of God. You can choose to ignore them if you wish, but that only makes you willfully ignorant and intellectually dishonest. I doubt Jesus would be very proud of that, but what do I know?;)
     
  19. nPeace

    nPeace Well-Known Member

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    That sort of nicely puts the cherry on the cake. :shortcake:
    Jesus showed that God alone is the ultimate standard of what is good.
    So even though we use the word good in every day speech, it is not in the sense that Jesus did here.

    However, when we say God is good, we are drawing attention to the fact that God is the epitome of good - his essence.
    This text help us to see that even Jesus did not consider himself on that level, because he is separate from, and subordinate to God.
     
  20. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so.

    IMV, it is a simple context.... God is good.
     
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